FAIRFIELD — Claps and cheers for runners echoed across the football field Friday for the third annual 2023 High School Track and Field Special Olympics.
This elementary-school event welcomed students from Special Education classes to a morning of friendly competition at Rodriguez High School football field.
The day started with a pageant of students walking onto the field, followed by the national anthem and a couple of speakers.
Sheila McCabe, assistant superintendent of Educational Services, spoke to the attendees about inspiration.
“We hear all the time about stress. It is a challenging time but it is all about the positive attitude that moves you forward through those challenges,” she said. “Today is a day to celebrate these amazing students.”
“This is just for students from Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District,” said Matt Miller, adapted physical education specialist, in a phone interview.
The event pairs special-education students with general-educational partners to compete together in races and field events, according to Miller.
He estimated that there were about 170 participants.
“One thing that is great about this is that it brings the schools, students and community together,” he said. “Students get to build new skills, they build confidence and friendships.”
Stacii Armstrong, 13, of Fairfield attends Green Valley Middle School.
“I find school inspiring,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong was waiting with classmates to run the 50-yard dash.
“I have been practicing for a while,” he said.
Superintendent Kris Corey finds the event always rewarding.
“The best way to describe today would be two words: inspirational and joyful,” she said. “It is so great to see the smiles on everyone’s faces.”
Corey credits the students with inspiring others and each other to try harder.
The schools that participated this year included B. Gayle Wilson Middle School, Crystal Elementary School, Green Valley Middle School, H. Glen Richardson, Oakbrook Elementary and David Weir Preparatory Academy.
The event included a variety of challenges from Frisbee throwing to races. The cheers for all the students was loud and inspiring.